KARACHI: The Arts Council was converted into a time machine and the audience taken into 16th century Salem, Massachusetts on Thursday. CityLights Productions presented Arthur Miller’s famous play The Crucible.
The play deals with the hypocrisy of life revolving around politico-religious issues governing Salem. According to the 19-year-old director of the play, Hamza Bangash, “It is intriguing that what struck Salem is now a metaphor for Pakistan, where religious pundits raise an issue and blow it out of proportion. What is true for 16th century Salem is relatively true for today’s Karachi.”
Speaking to The Express Tribune, 22-year-old Muneebur Rehman of IBA, who played the part of Thomas Putnam, said, “It is a play about politics and authority of the Church in a place that believes witchcraft is prevalent in the society.” Rehman felt that while his role was small, it showed how a man can stoop to the very depths of humanity. He admitted that he could relate to the character “to an extent”. “We all have ulterior motives, people struggling for power is one perspective,” he added.
The National Academy of Performing Arts graduate, Salma Lakhani, who was Tituba in the play, enthused about her role. “I totally love the role, I am the only witch in the play who is actually from Barbados!”
Meanwhile, the role of Giles Corey was acted by Aseem Rizvi, who aspires to become an aerospace engineer. “My character provides comic relief in the play. The character is eccentric and loud, that goes for me,” Rizvi told The Express Tribune.
About his own part Bangash said, “I don’t relate to it. But yes, it is hypocritical and perfect for our times.”
The play, which is set during the infamous Salem Witch Trials, shows how dozens of women, accused of witchcraft, were either burned or hanged.
As the first scene opens, Reverend Samuel Parris (played by Bangash) is sitting besides his daughter, Betty Parris (played by Saba Ansari), who lies motionless on her bed.
The play is on for only two nights in the city “due to financial constraints”, said Bangash.
The play was choreographed by Sana Ansari, while the music coordination was done by Kamil Lotia and the event was managed by Tahir Shamim of Parfaire.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th,2010.
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